Poll: Is Unlimited Data Making a Comeback?

Posted: August 31st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Poll: Is Unlimited Data Making a Comeback?

Increasingly, there’s discussion within the telecom sector whether unlimited data is making a comeback. In fact, in Wednesday’s blog post we highlight a story asking this very question. This made us wonder how our readers are striking the balance between happy customers and manageable networks. We invite you to share your thoughts on this by voting in today’s poll — and, as always, we welcome you to post in the “Comments” section below.

Around the World

Posted: August 29th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

FierceWireless Europe…
Telefónica ready to spend €1.5B on UK LTE auction

It seems that the adoption of LTE is continuing to burgeon around the world. Telefonica, a Spanish-based telecoms operator, announced it would invest around €1.5 billion to acquire LTE spectrum licenses at an upcoming UK auction. The new mobile licenses are designed to bring fast download speeds to the country, and UK regulator Ofcom said it will auction the LTE spectrum for the 800MHz and 2.6 GHz bands with the expectation that operators will launch commercial service in 2013.

Interestingly, Telefonica has already been working closely with the UK markets, as the region represented 11% of the company’s total revenue in the first half of 2012. The company has also made strides to expand its services to other parts of Europe. In 2010, the operator also acquired LTE spectrum in a German auction, bidding a total of €1.379 million, on top of a €842 million bid last year to acquire LTE spectrum in its domestic market.

On another note, Telefónica’s is enjoying the benefits of China Unicom’s strong performance this year, as the company holds a 5% stake in the Chinese company.

Light Reading India…
Smart Strategies For Telco Growth

According to Jatinder Singh, the principal correspondent for Light Reading India, the telecoms industry in India has been in a crisis due to dwindling revenues and the saturation of the urban market. Therefore, it’s time operators reassess their strategy and begin to innovate and expand their services.

Singh points out several key areas in which operators can focus on to turn around the telecoms market. The first is to leverage 3G technology. More specifically, the price of 3G technology has begun to decrease, and the time is ripe to push this technology in hopes of bringing awareness to tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

Next, the article states that Value Added Services (VAS) have shown recent growth in the market, and telecom companies need to create an ecosystem in which operators and VAS companies share revenues.

Finally, to turn around the telecoms sector in India, operators need to focus on providing services to the enterprise businesses and expand into global markets. It’s noted in the article that the business landscape is dominated by small and medium business, but the enterprise space in the country is largely untapped.  Also, many analysts believe the expansion into other parts or the world, like Africa, is the key to the growth and success of the telecom companies in the future.

Fierce Wireless…
Is Unlimited Data Making a Comeback?

We highlighted a story in July that discussed how operators, like Comcast, are offering tiered data services to manage their network. Now Fierce Wireless reports that some operators are offering unlimited data plans to attack the tiered — and arguably unpopular — data pricing model.

Since the industry moved towards a tiered data pricing structure to manage bandwidth costs, both T-Mobile and Metro PCS have seen dramatic subscriber churn. In fact, each has lost 205,000 and 186,000 net customers respectively in the second quarter alone.

According to Mark Lowenstein, managing director of Mobile Ecosystem, unlimited data offerings can help wireless carriers get their foot in the door with consumers, and set them apart from their competitors. Unlimited data “starts the conversation,” he explained, noting that consumers will then evaluate the other aspects of the providers’ service.

Do you think tiered data plans are going to the wayside? Which do plan do you think will provide more success in the future?

Compelling Cases: Comptel Fulfillment in Action

Posted: August 24th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Compelling Cases | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

As part of our “making data beautiful” initiative here at Comptel, we’d like to share real-life examples of how we’ve helped communications service providers (CSPs) put this idea into action. Today, we’re launching an ongoing series, “Compelling Cases: Comptel in Action,” that showcases the various successes of our work with CSPs through mini-case studies. These stories will illustrate real-life examples of Comptel’s solutions in action, starting off with today’s inaugural post on increasing productivity through streamlined service delivery.

Realising the need to stimulate growth and accelerate revenue generation, a mobile service provider based in Southern Europe embarked on a task to achieve these goals. To do this, the service provider sought to more efficiently introduce new products and services to its customers and to better manage its assets. After considering several competing vendors, the CSP opted to deploy Comptel Fulfillment, which would enable it to achieve its goals of offering a broader portfolio of products and services and simplify its service creation process.

With Comptel Fulfillment, the CSP would be able to take a multi-dimensional approach to solving its challenge. Specifically, Comptel Provisioning and Activation fully automates the process of activating subscriber orders, Order Management for end-to-end control of customer purchases, and Comptel Catalog for breaking down a sellable product bundle into technical network capabilities.

After beginning work with Comptel, the CSP was able to increase its process and IT efficiency, plus increase operational staff productivity by up to 10%. On top of this, a return on investment (ROI) is anticipated in just 18 months from the time of deployment. Ultimately, the CSP’s fully integrated approach to service order orchestration means they now have streamlined service delivery, improved asset management and a lower total-cost-of-ownership.

This and other third-party validated case studies are available at TechValidate-Comptel Solutions

Reflections on MEA

Posted: August 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Reflections on MEA

A few months ago, a friend made me aware of the Afrinnovator website displaying the tagline: “Putting Africa on the map,” with the goal of “telling the stories of African startups, African innovation, African-made technology, African tech entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs.”

As somebody who likes to visit technology blog sites like Engadget, GigaOM, Mashable and the slightly more quirky The Register, this was an eye opener – even for somebody living in Africa.

Two things stood out.

First, this publication is focused on technology really changing lives. We’re living in a world where seemingly everything is mobile, where there’s an “M-something” for everything. For instance, there is mobile banking, education, agriculture, trading, health, security and government. Additionally, it’s about mobile meeting the daily needs of the consumer — not just a mobile “entertain -and -share-everything” mentality as I am more accustomed to reading about.

Second, these services are not only being delivered by “sexy” data bandwidth hungry smartphone apps, but are also using low-tech solutions that will work with even the least technical phone. For example, there is mobile banking using USSD, mobile medical diagnosis using MMS to send pictures, and even mobile vehicle licensing and resume submissions for jobs using SMS.

So, you may now be asking what the OSS angle is for an OSS blog.

Well, the point is the differences I noted between the mobile service innovation in developed vs. developing countries is an example of how markets naturally work to allocate resources at an aggregate level to meet their needs. However, while most people will tolerate my generalisations of developed vs. developing markets, it is fair to say that generalised services are no longer good enough for individual subscribers within markets.

Essentially, what is needed at an aggregate level is not necessarily what is needed at an individual level within those markets. This is what Comptel’s Customer Engagement Solutions can do to ensure an operator that the appropriate services and customer experience is delivered for individual subscribers, given their personal context.

Now, as a consumer of services I am the first to admit that I don’t always know what I want until after I have experienced it – or it is taken away. So, am I suggesting empowering operators with mind-reading abilities? You bet I am…

All Good Things Must Come to an End: Reporting from the Olympics, Part 3

Posted: August 16th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Well it’s true, all good things must come to an end and on Sunday night we fondly waved farewell to the London 2012 Olympic Games! This is also the third, and final, post in my series drawing parallels between project management and the Olympics. In this concluding post, I’ll focus on how to properly wrap up a project, or in other words, hold its Closing Ceremony!

On Sunday night we watched the festival of British Music mark the end of the Games with performances by George Michael, Queen and the Spice Girls! We also saw the athletes celebrate their medal triumphs during the ceremony – after all, this is an opportunity to recognise their achievements, say thank you, and take a moment to reflect on future possibilities.

For any event or project, the closing ceremonies hold just as much significance as the opening ones. At Comptel, the Europe West Services team places great emphasis on properly closing a project. And while our project closure activities are not as jaw-dropping as the Olympic Closing Ceremony, they do share many of the same objectives.

Recognising achievements:

The project closure phase is an opportunity for teams and individuals to be rewarded and thanked for their efforts. Recognising when a project has been successfully delivered is important for morale and team building. During the London 2012 Closing Ceremony, for instance, a section of the show was set aside to honour and thank the thousands of volunteers who have helped make the Games such a success.

Formally marking the end of a project:

It is also important to formally mark the end of a project, allowing resources to be re-allocated to other initiatives and ensuring loose ends, like the project financial accounts, are properly closed. By marking the end of the project, the team can also begin to concentrate on finding their next venture. Furthermore, it’s an ideal time to provide a thorough handover to the support teams who will look after the customer as part of business as usual.

Documentation and materials:

The materials and assets relating to the project, like effort estimates, need to be updated and saved to the communal areas/libraries for use by subsequent similar projects. Take, for example, transportation – considered one of the main concerns around London 2012. Prior to the Games, there was talk about whether the city’s old transport system could cope with the additional journeys that were sure to come with the Games. This was no small task, with around 4.3 million journeys being taken every day! Detailed plans were put in place to help the city handle these additional journeys, and the next host city of Rio de Janeiro will certainly be looking to these for guidance on overcoming transportation issues for 2016.

Lessons learned:

It’s important to perform a lessons learned exercise to build upon what went well and understand how to improve other items for next time. In terms of the Olympics, team Great Britain won their greatest-ever record haul in over 100 years, centred on the great successes from the cycling and rowing teams that dominated their sports. Other nations, as part of their lessons learned, will be assessing how they can improve and compete with Great Britain at the next Games.

Ongoing legacy:

Finally, you want to make sure there is an ongoing legacy, or in other words, another related project following on from the one you have just completed.  But moreover, it’s important to ensure the relationship with the existing customer is maintained. At Comptel, the customer is transferred to a dedicated client manager who provides ongoing support and care for them. With the Olympics, the transition to Rio for the 2016 Games was marked with the Mayor of Rio arriving and acknowledging the handover by waving the Olympic flag for all to see!

So we come to the end of my Olympic project management related posts. This blog covers the steps we complete at Comptel’s Europe West Services team to ensure that our projects end properly and on a high note!

And on a personal level, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the Olympic Games in London; the whole country has been swept away by the excitement and spectacle of hosting one of the greatest events on earth. For me it was sad to see them come to an end, but now our focus and anticipation switches to Rio in 2016… And I, for one, cannot wait!

The Benefits of Social Network Analytics for Marketing

Posted: August 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Benefits of Social Network Analytics for Marketing

Social network analytics (SNA) is becoming increasingly popular as communications service providers (CSPs) look to better understand their customers and secure a competitive edge in the market. As part of an advanced analytics approach, SNA enables CSPs to dive into the billions of daily transactions on their networks and utilise the calling patterns to identify influencers and better segment their subscribers – and ultimately realise more value.

For instance, call detail records provide CSPs with a unique insight into social interactions through the daily communication of their subscribers. This network may be even more important for CPSs than most online social networks, for example, which are just snapshots of a person’s interactions, many of which may not be very relevant, especially with regards to the activities of CSPs.

However, SNA alone is not the ultimate end-all solution and is, instead, one very valuable aspect of the larger scope of analytics. And when combined with predictive analytics, SNA truly offers a distinct advantage for CSPs. For instance, they can use SNA to power their predictive capabilities and generate insight regarding data that is otherwise unavailable on the single subscriber level. On top of this, SNA and predictive analytics can help CSPs benefit from the interactions between subscribers, help with overall customer experience management and automate operational actions to increase productivity. And let’s not forget, perhaps the best known application of SNA, viral marketing – an approach that remains one of the strongest, most effective marketing techniques. But again, it’s crucial to take into account that understanding the social network alone is not enough. Rather, when combined with the right product, predictive analytics powered by SNA can really make a difference.

Take, for instance, a teenager who texts frequently. If he or she receives an appealing SMS rate reduction that’s just right for them – perhaps one that predictive models have indicated would be suitable – this subscriber will be more likely to spread the word to those in his or her network, causing a positive ripple effect. As a result, many of these connections may pursue that same SMS rate, providing an increase in revenue for the CSP.

Ultimately, recommendations from family and friends can be far more effective than traditional advertising. In this way, combining predictive analytics and SNA can play a key role in any CSP’s arsenal. And of course, a well-executed SNA strategy balances providing personalised offers without infringing on subscriber privacy.

If you’d like to read more about combining predictive analytics and SNA— and taking this even one step further to understand and act upon the context of each interaction — download our recent whitepaper with Heavy Reading on Contextual Intelligence. What are your thoughts on SNA? Is it of value? Are there actual network influencers whose recommendation you follow regardless of the topic? Or would you say you’re more swayed by having CSPs make the right offer, and it holds more weight when the offer is recommended by those whose opinion you trust in the context of what is being offered?

Going for Gold with Project Management: Reporting from the Olympics, Part 2

Posted: August 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Going for Gold with Project Management: Reporting from the Olympics, Part 2

As I mentioned in my previous post about the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games, I’m amid a kick-off session of my own for a major Europe West Comptel project and discussed some tips for a successful project launch.  Now in the second post in my series, I’ll focus on the implementation phase – and how this parallels with the Games!

Firstly, I’d like to mention this year’s amazing Opening Ceremony, which not only rewrote the rule book for kicking off the games, but also showcased Britain’s collective passion, strengths and sense of humour to the world. What a fantastic show and start to the Games! Now with the kick-off phase behind us, both my client project and the Olympic Games have moved into the marathon implementation phase.  Here are some tips that I use as a project manager on Comptel’s Europe West Services team to ensure the implementation stays on track for a podium finish.


From watching the games in full force, what has struck me is the level of organisation that is required –from the food stalls to the medal makers, to the facilities and even the technology. All of these items required planning, tracking and organisation – and this is all about being prepared and knowing who needs to do what and when they need to do it! A project implementation phase is no different, as it requires a properly thought-out project plan that can be used to prepare, monitor and drive this phase, ensuring every work item is delivered on time and all dependencies are understood.


Reporting is vitally important – after all, the London 2012 Olympics can be enjoyed on the television, mobile devices, the Internet, Twitter and through various newspapers. Similarly, project reporting is just as important. For instance, understanding what’s going well and what requires additional focus helps the entire project team concentrate on the essentials. Agreeing to the type of reporting and meeting structure upfront is vital to ensure everyone is informed and the progress is transparently tracked.

Team Work:

Whilst watching the cycling road race on the first day of the Games, I was struck by the level of team work required for an individual to win a medal – and with it all the glory. Project implementation phases parallel this sense of solidarity. It is imperative to create a team spirit and ensure that, where required, your implementation team works together to keep the project on track.

Strong Leadership:

During the implementation phase strong leadership is essential to ensure the project is delivered on time and all issues are managed effectively. The role of the project manager is vital to coordinate and drive the project to completion.

Focus on the Goal:

Finally, as in the Olympic Games, there must be a steady focus on the goal in order to come out on top. It is easy tobecome distracted during the implementation phase and, for example, look at bringing in additional scope. But you must remain dedicated to fulfilling the original requirements for which the project was created. Take, for instance, Michael Phelps – he has remained focused throughout the Games with the sole intent of securing as many medals as possible. This unwavering drive and concentration is the key to securing success and, combined with his talent, has made him the most decorated Olympian ever.

On a personal note, on Friday 3rd August, my family and I headed to the Olympic Stadium and watched the first day of the athletics, the highlight of which was the Women’s Heptathlon opening rounds with team Great Britain’s ‘face of the games’ Jessica Ennis competing.

Upon entering the Olympic Park, I was struck by the sheer scale of it. The stadium is enormous and really quite inspiring with the fantastic Orbit sculpture dominating the view. There was a real buzz of excitement around the place as spectators made their way to their respective events. Upon first glimpse inside the Olympic Stadium, it really does take your breath away and once it’s full, the atmosphere in the arena is incredible – the whole stadium enjoying being part of the Olympics and urging the athletes to do well.

I truly got the sense that Britain is very proud to be Olympic hosts and to have this incredible once-in-a-lifetime event in our capital; to the point where the crowds were going to make sure they enjoyed every second of the experience and spectacle! The London Olympics was intended to inspire a generation to take up sport and our great city has certainly stamped its personality on the games, grabbing the world’s attention along the way. It will be quite sad to see them come to a close!

Speaking of, my next post will sadly turn to reviewing the Closing Ceremony and my tips for what we do within Comptel’s services team to ensure that a project is properly concluded with all the lessons learned.

Around the World

Posted: August 3rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

South Korea hits 100% mark in wireless broadband

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found that South Korea is the first country to surpass 100% penetration for wireless broadband, with 100.6 subscriptions for every 100 inhabitants. To reach this conclusion, OECD analysed the standard mobile phone high-speed wireless Internet and data-only wireless Internet subscriptions. Additionally, the agency looked at its own data, which was based on the rate of high-speed Internet access versus the South Korean population.

The OECD is comprised of 34 countries, and based on the organisation’s metrics, the average domestic penetration percentage for high-Internet mobile wireless is 54.3%. Of this, Sweden comes in a close second to South Korea at 98 wireless broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. The United States rated 76.1 followed by Finland at 87.8 and Japan at 82.4. Of the additional OECM member countries, the lower end included Mexico, at 7.7, Turkey at 8.9 and Hungary at 12.9.

The Guardian…
Superfast broadband will be available in 90% of UK by 2015, says Ed Vaizey

Britain’s culture minister Ed Vaizey has said that 90% of the country will have access to extremely fast broadband by the year 2015. The government is working to install an infrastructure that would both ensure the service’s longevity and enable consumers who want to connect to a “really, really fast” network to upgrade, if they choose.

Vaizey stated that when it comes to the speed of the network, “… most people define [superfast broadband] around the 35 megabits a second (Mbps) speed but we have said that 100% of the country should have access to 2Mbps. To put that in context, for example, if you want to watch the iPlayer on your computer you would need about 1-1.5Mbps.” To support this endeavor, a total of £1.2 billion has been dedicated to the project, plus additional funding for pockets of cities where broadband connection is poor.

However, a recent report by the House of Lords warned that the government’s broadband policy should shift its focus from delivering speed, and instead emphasise greater access through a national broadband network. After a six-month investigation, the committee concluded Britain would need a better overall broadband network in order to keep up with future technologies. It has raised concerns about Britain’s network, and the possibility of expanding the gap between those communities with fast Internet access and those without.

FierceBroadbandWireless and GigaOM…
ABI: Mobile data traffic growth to plummet below 50% after 2015
Mobile data growth rate to decrease by 2015? Doubtful.

A recent ABI Research report predicts mobile data traffic will soon level off, with 2015 being the last year that volume will grow by more than 50% annually. Although the rate of growth will start slowing down, the global mobile data traffic will exceed a whopping 107 exabytes by 2017. The forecasted slower growth rate is attributed to technology like Wi-Fi offload and more intelligent smartphones. For instance, on-demand video content will be increasingly viewed on non-cellular networks, such as Netflix’s iOS application, which utilises Wi-Fi.

GigaOM, however, argues this outlook may be flawed. Journalist Kevin Tofel points out that Cisco has estimated only 22% of mobile traffic will be delivered over Wi-Fi in 2016 – leaving a lot more for networks to handle. Tofel also says that as smartphones become more affordable and networks improve their service, it’s likely that mobile users will increase, thus accumulating more mobile data traffic. What do you think? Will mobile data traffic taper off as ABI predicted or does GigaOM have it right?

Poll: What’s the Biggest Opportunity of Big Data/Analytics?

Posted: August 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

In June’s poll we surveyed the trendiest buzzwords circulating within the telecoms sector. “Analytics/Big Data” edged out with 43% of the vote, followed by “Customer experience management” with 38%. Rounding out the top three was “Innovation” with nearly 10% of the vote.

This month, we take a closer look at the poll’s trendiest buzzword to better understand what Big Data/Analytics means to you. Tell us what excites you most about applying Big Data/Analytics to the telecoms sector. We welcome you to post in the “Comments” section below as always.